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Poland sees economic risk in hosting Euro 2012

Poland will be ready to adopt the euro by 2012, but its plan to host the Euro 2012 football tournament that same year could create economic risks, Poland's finance minister said in comments published on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Zyta Gilowska named 2012 as the earliest date to join the eurozone. „Today we see no serious barriers to entering the eurozone in that year, in fact it is the first very likely date,” Gilowska told the newspaper in an interview. But she added: „The intensive preparations for the Euro 2012 championship could unleash an economic risk that is currently difficult to predict and quantify.” Turning to the country's economic growth, Gilowska said: „The economy is beginning to develop like something out of a textbook. „We are in a classical phase of growth. You cannot talk about overheating.”

Poland's economy, the biggest in central Europe, is seen growing at an annual rate of about 7% in the Q1 of the year, the fastest rate in a decade. Last week, however, the central bank raised interest rates for the first time in almost three years. The quarter-point rate rise had been widely anticipated as a pre-emptive strike to cap price pressures in the booming economy. Gilowska was quoted as recognizing that additional reforms needed to be introduced to improve productivity further. The finance ministry wants to reduce spending or find additional revenues of about 21 billion zlotys ($7.6 billion) in 2008 to finance tax cuts and other reforms and to meet euro entry requirements in 2009. „We'll see if there is a will to reform in parliament,” Gilowska said. (